Letters to the editor | April 17, 2017

MOTHER NATURE: @caitaclysmic writes, "Lightning above the Sheep Hills silos! Pretty stoked with the shot. #wimmeraweekend #wimmera #silo #sheephills @siloarttrail"
MOTHER NATURE: @caitaclysmic writes, "Lightning above the Sheep Hills silos! Pretty stoked with the shot. #wimmeraweekend #wimmera #silo #sheephills @siloarttrail"

Commonwealth Games bid is a positive move

THE Regional Victoria Commonwealth Games bid is an exciting proposal for regional Victoria and the Liberal Nationals look forward to learning more about this opportunity.

Country Victorians love their sport and would be thrilled to host Commonwealth Games events in their home towns.

The concept is a great fit with our population and decentralisation policies, and it would be a terrific boost for jobs and regional economies.

Our vision is to grow all of Victoria, not just Melbourne, and an opportunity like this could help drive investment in the transport and community infrastructure our regions need for future growth.

Peter Walsh, Leader of the Nationals

Penalty rates still apply during this Easter period

I URGE Victorian workers to be vigilant about their holiday award rates across the Easter period, as per their contractual agreements with their employers.

The Fair Work Commission’s cuts to penalty rates, backed by the Turnbull Government, are yet to come into effect. That means that award rates remain the same.

In the meantime, anyone found to be underpaying staff runs the risk of being caught by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Once the cuts come into force, workers in retail and pharmacy will have their Sunday rates cut from 200 per cent to 150 per cent, while those in hospitality will see a reduction from 175 per cent to 150 per cent. Fast-food workers will also see their award pay slashed from 150 per cent to 125 per cent.

In the wake of George Calombaris and the Made Establishment group underpaying staff $2.6 million in wages, there are public concerns about employees receiving what they are owed at work.

The Ombudsman was successful in recovering more than $1.2 million in underpaid wages during its three-year National Hospitality Industry Campaign; workers can use the Pay and Conditions Tool to find their award wage via calculate.fairwork.gov.au/FindYourAward

Natalie Hutchins, Industrial Relations Minister

Have a say on proposed control regulations 

PEOPLE have a chance to provide feedback on options for protecting Victoria’s livestock industries from the impact of animal diseases.

Existing Livestock Disease Control Regulations 2006 cease on December 18.

A public consultation process has commenced and Agriculture Victoria invites people to review the proposed new regulations and accompanying Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), and provide their input.

The livestock sector is a significant contributor to Victoria’s economic well-being. Victoria has a diverse agricultural landscape encompassing a wide range of primary products including beef, lamb, wool, eggs, pork and poultry.

In 2014-15, our state’s livestock sector was valued about $8.1 billion. Livestock and related products represent 57 per cent of the total gross value of commodities produced by the Victorian agricultural sector.

No one should underestimate the importance of biosecurity to our economic success. For example, ABARES has projected that a major outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Australia would cost the national economy in the order of $52 billion over a ten year period (from a single outbreak).  

It is important that industry and the community are involved in the development of the proposed Regulations 2017. The RIS analyses the regulation of disease control for livestock in Victoria and proposes the remaking of the Livestock Disease Control Regulations 2006 with some amendments.

To have your say, go to www.engage.vic.gov.au/RIS-livestock-disease-control 

Beth Jones, Agriculture Victoria, acting executive director for biosecurity